I’ve been inspired by a friend, and there’s going to be a bit more behind this post than will immediately be apparent (in the form of a video/audio interview, but I won’t say any more than that), but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the phenomenon of ‘cancel culture’.
On one level, I fully understand the desire to put a stop to misogynistic, racist, bigoted behaviour. I believe such behaviour should be confronted, and I’ve done quite a lot of that down the years. On another level, we are becoming very quick to jump down someone’s throat and judge them for all eternity, based on small samples of behaviour. There needs to be some form of balance.
What I mean by that, is that we ought to be thinking ‘how can we get the person making racist/sexist/homophobic posts to reconsider their position? Instead of slamming the door in their face and, for lack of a better term, shunning from society (whereupon they will link up with other like-minded people and try all the harder to spread their agenda), why not at least try to educate them?
If we push someone, if we get confrontational, the opposing party is more likely to dig their heels in, even in the face of facts and logic, than to admit their position is unreasonable. I wrote about this the other day – we can all talk at each other, but how do we listen, and how do we get others to listen to us?
Sometimes I feel like the internet and social media, far from becoming the tool to unite us and help us to develop a common understanding by sharing varied ideas, has divided us. People seek assurance of their views, a sort of… comfort blanket, and as such, they seek out like-minded individuals to shore up and strengthen their deeply held beliefs, even when those beliefs don’t make a lot of sense (see the rise in populism and the support of the likes of Donald Trump – his followers have banded together in droves, and repeat MAGA platitudes as a form of protection).
I’m guilty of it myself. I know I am. Be it arguing with MAGAs, homophobes, misogynists, racists or on more mundane topics like Star Wars and Star Trek canon, I find myself embedding myself in my point of view. There are certain things that I have a ‘stand my ground’ mentality with, as we all do.
This trend can manifest itself in displays of open bias from all of us. Actors Chris Pratt, Gina Carano and Letitia Wright have all said some controversial stuff recently, and they’ve not been ‘cancelled’ so to speak. Is this because they are part of peak popular culture, and therefore we play by different rules?
Bottom line, you are more likely to lure someone (not that this is what we’re talking about here) with honey than with vinegar. What I mean by that is, a less confrontational stance will hopefully yield a less confrontational stance from our opponents, and make them more open to considering different points of view.